Oklahoma’s Taxti Wau (Deer Woman)
I write a weekly article on cryptids – monsters shouldn’t exist but do. The funny thing about these stories is where these stories originate. You wouldn’t think the state I write about would house that particular cryptid.
A case in point is an article I did titled, New York’s Champ. It’s about a Nessie-type monster haunting New York’s Lake Champlain. When I think of New York? A sea monster is not what comes to mind first. I think of Bigfoot or a hellhound haunting New York’s dense forests.
It was the same with Oklahoma when I researched cryptids for this week’s article. I thought of a Bigfoot or werewolf, but I was not thinking of a shapeshifter.
You read correctly; a shapeshifter is terrorizing Oklahoma. It is known as the Deer Woman.
The Deer Woman is a Native American tale passed down in stories for centuries. Her story has spread from the plains tribes of Oklahoma west to the tribes of the Pacific Northwest. People have reported seeing her dancing at the local pow wows.
She dressed in black, with her head covered in a shawl. The Deer Woman is enjoying the ceremony or looking for prey. In the retelling of the story changes depending on the storyteller.
Native American legend calls her the spirit of a deer, and she represents fertility and love.
Now, this is where the stories get fascinating. Variations of the tale include where a woman is raped and left to die. A doe lies down next to her so that woman doesn’t die alone. The woman is angry that she is dying, and the man lives on. She asks for revenge with her last breath of life, and the doe’s spirit enters the woman’s body.
The woman inherits the ability to transform into a doe or human at will. It doesn’t say if she ever exacted revenge on the man who raped and killed her. She does hunt down other men guilty of playing around, abusing, or mistreating the women in their lives.
In a video Oklahoma Deer Lady, Larry Falconi narrates the story of one unfortunate victim. Falconi is a Professor of Folklore and Mythology. He is also a crypto hunter, and he investigated a gentleman’s claim. It is a pretty exciting video, even with the melodramatics by Falconi.
Falconi states that a farmer by the name of Don Henney saw the Deer Woman. She was in his field, and she had the most beautiful brown eyes. Henney noticed the mystery woman also had hooves where her feet should have been.
She left as suddenly as she appeared, and Henney thought no more about it. Except, one of his ranch hands saw the beautiful woman, and Henny witnessed her stomping the young man to death. Henny told the authorities it was his wife that killed the young man. The police arrested Henny’s wife for that young man’s death.
The story continues with Henny going to a man’s club that night. Much later, he left to go home and saw the Deer Woman. She whispered in his ear, “You should never have blamed your wife for that man’s death.”
Henny left town frightened by the Deer Woman, but not soon enough. In the next town, over his trampled body was discovered.
Was it the Deer Woman?
Some tales say she is a spirit of the deer representing fertility and love. Others say she is the spirit of a vengeful shapeshifter punishing unfaithful men.
Women do not have to be fearful of this avenging spirit. Men who follow the right path of faithfulness and loyalty don’t either. It is the men who are dishonest and treat their women without respect. She appears to these men as a barely dressed lovely young woman. A woman who has the most beautiful brown eyes the men have seen.
She enchants these men and they follow her into the woods, never more seen. The story goes, she stomps them to death as punishment for how they treat women. Like Aesop’s fables of old, there is a moral in this folktale.
The Deer Woman doesn’t stalk men that follow the correct path and treat their women with love and respect. She only goes after the playboys, the cheaters, and the abusers.
Is the Deer Woman a story of morals and ethics?
There is another video Deer Woman: What the Elders Say, that is fascinating. The narration sends shivers up your spine, but it tells of sightings. People have seen the Deer Woman, not once or twice, but multiple times down through the ages. There have been sightings in the Western States, Oklahoma, and the Pacific Northwest.
Taxti Wau is also a sacred story told by the Lakota. The Deer Woman is an ancient story told over so many years. People have seen the Deer Woman during pow wows and tribal ceremonies. She is dressed all in black with a shawl over her head, hiding her face.
Folktale, or fact, The Deer Woman, has numerous YouTube videos and a movie. There is so much information about the Deer Woman. Like the Navajo Skinwalker, stories told about the Deer Woman are spoken in hushed tones. No one wants to draw her attention to them, especially if they are not good husbands or men to their women.
Myth or not, if you drive through Oklahoma, you best be on your best behavior. Otherwise, you could meet the Deer Woman and she could stomp you to death.
Selected Image by Majabel Creaciones from Pixabay